DIY: How to Fade Cloth

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An image of clothes hanging outside.
An image of clothes hanging outside. (Image: PinkBadger/iStock/Getty Images)

You can fade clothes by using either natural ingredients or manufactured chemicals. In many cases, you probably already have the necessary ingredients or items lying around your home. Fading cloth is an inexpensive way to change up certain pieces of your wardrobe for a new look. The amount of time and effort it takes to accomplish this change depends on the type of cloth and how faded you want it to be in the end.

Things You'll Need

  • Bleach
  • Hanger or Clothesline
  • Clothespins (if necessary)
  • Clothes Washer
  • Rubber Gloves

Bleaching

Step 1

Fill a large bucket or similar container big enough to hold the cloth with 1 cup of bleach for every gallon of water.

Step 2

Put on rubber gloves and carefully submerge the cloth in the bleach and water mixture so that all the cloth is under water, or else the fading may not come out evenly.

Step 3

Soak for 5 to 7 minutes, then check how faded the cloth is. If you wish it to be more faded, submerge again for another 5 to 7 minutes until you get the desired result. Launder as usual.

Sunlight

Step 1

Launder your clothes that you wish to fade using hot water, which helps begin the fading process.

Step 2

Hang the clothes on a clothesline using clothespins. If a clothesline is not available, you can instead put the clothes on a hanger. Hang outside in the daylight so the clothes meant to be faded are in full sunlight, not shade.

Step 3

Alternate the side of the clothing that is facing the sun every 15 minutes so that each side gets equal exposure.

Step 4

Remove clothes from outside after daylight has passed. Check if they are faded enough for your liking. If not, repeat again the next day and as many days as necessary to get the desired amount of fading.

Washing Machine

Step 1

Run your washing machine on the hottest cycle possible with the cloth you wish to fade in it.

Step 2

Dry the clothes to see if they are the desired shade of faded color. When wet, clothes always appear brighter so it is hard to tell if they are faded enough until you dry them. If time permits, let the clothes dry outside in full sun exposure, as this will help speed up the fading process.

Step 3

Run the clothes through the same cycle again. Keep repeating as necessary until you reach the desired amount of fading. This could take up to ten washes.

Tip

  • After bleaching clothes, it may take more than one wash to completely get the bleach smell out of the clothes.

    Make sure clothes are exposed to the harshest part of daylight in full sun. If it is a shady or overcast day, the fading will not work.

    When trying to fade in the washing machine, never use detergents or laundry treatment products. Many of these have color-safe or color-fast chemicals in them that work against you because they try to keep the color in, when you are trying to get the color out.

Warning

  • Be careful when working with bleach, as too much bleach can cause smells or fumes that can be dangerous. Always work with chemicals in well-ventilated areas or outside.

    To protect against splashing when working with bleach, an apron and protective goggles or other eyewear can be worn.

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